Sri Lanka, Czech Republic sign pact for mutual cooperation

Published : 9:00 am  February 8, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (209) reads | 

From left: Czech Republic Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Sri Lanka Milan Hovorka and Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama at the agreement signing
Pic by Kushan Pathiraja

 

By Harshana Sellahewa
The Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry of Sri Lanka and Industry and Trade Ministry of the Czech Republic entered into an agreement of mutual cooperation yesterday.


Both countries have agreed to expand friendly relations ranging from investment to deeper bilateral exchanges and cooperation on a platform that allows both countries to gain benefits from new forms of dynamism.

The mutual cooperation agreement will enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation as well as create opportunities for investment flows through exchange of information on laws and regulations governing foreign investments.


The agreement was signed between Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama and Czech Republic Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Sri Lanka Milan Hovorka, who was authorised to sign on behalf of the Industry and Trade Minister of the Czech Republic. 


In formulating the action framework under this agreement, special emphasis is to be given to encourage investment cooperation in economic sectors through non-traditional financial instruments. This ministerial joint committee will be co-chaired by International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe. The Czech Republic is known as the knowledge and technological hub in Europe while it has a robust democratic tradition and rich cultural heritage. It emerged from over 40 years of communist rule in 1990 and was the former Eastern Bloc state to acquire the status of a developed economy, as it joined the European Union (EU) in 2004.


Recognising the Czech Republic as a fast-growing economy in the EU, it houses the potential to become an important export destination for Sri Lanka and is highly likely to produce benefits through an effective cooperation on investment towards local (Sri Lankan) industrial development, as specifically highlighted by the observations of President Maithripala Sirisena, hence the cabinet had approved signing for the agreement in 2017. Sri Lanka’s exports to the Czech Republic amounted to around US $ 55 million with a positive trade balance in 2017. Sri Lanka’s exports to the Czech Republic have been mainly confined in the sectors of rubber and rubber-based products, tea, coconut and coconut-based products, along with apparel. Being a tea exporting country, Sri Lanka has the potential to widen the exports of value-added tea to the Czech Republic. Since the Czech Republic has a developed automobile industry, Sri Lanka can explore the market opportunity in the Czech Republic for rubber finished products like tyres and other automobile parts. Sri Lanka has an opportunity to export to the Czech Republic from others sectors such as electronic and electrical, insulated wires, chemical products, essential oils, processed foods, edible fruits and vegetables, tobacco, ceramic products and seafood.